During the early days of the Second World War, US submarine Dragonfish, skippered by Lieutenant Commander Jeff Conway (Cliff Robertson), heads into Japanese waters on a dangerous reconnaissance mission. Conway’s task is to track down and photograph the Fifth Carrier Division of the Japanese fleet using a camera installed in the periscope.
But, as the crew returns with the photographs to safe waters, they are captured and transported to a small island owned by Eurasion, Karen Phillips (Gia Scala). There they are imprisoned along with a number of Australian troops and interrogated by dignified commandant, Mori (Teru Shimada).
At first Phillips (who acts as an interpreter) seems to be siding with the Japanese. But when Mori is replaced by cruel Captain Yamazaki (James T Goto), she risks her life to aid the prisoners’ escape. Helped also by brave Australian nurse, Peg Whitcomb (Patricia Cutts), Conway and two of his officers manage to flee the island on a captured enemy boat and break through Japanese lines. The intelligence information they deliver to the American fleet ultimately ensures an Allied victory at the crucial Battle of the Coral Sea .
Rugged Cliff Robertson was no stranger to the waves, having been a Merchant Marine in the ’40s. He would later be handpicked by JFK to portray him as a raw naval lieutenant in the presidential biopic PT-109 (1963) and went on to win an Oscar for his performance as the mentally retarded Charly (1968).
USA | Columbia | 86 minutes | 1959
Director: Paul Wendkos
Script: Daniel B. Ullman, Stephen Kandel,
Patricia Cutts as Lt. Peg Whitcomb
L.Q. Jones as Yeoman Halliday
Cliff Robertson as Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Conway
Rian Garrick as Al Schechter
Tom Laughlin as Ens. Franklin
Gia Scala as Karen Philips
Teru Shimada as Comm. Mori
Gene Blakely as Lt. Len Ross
Robin Hughes as Maj. Jammy Harris
Gordon Jones as Torpedoman Bates